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Kane and Lynch: Dead Men did not receive high praise back when it was released in 2007, But Eidos smells a franchise and nothing is going to stop them from delivering their vision of a Michael Mann directed shoot fest. From the looks of the demo for Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days it’s obvious that this time around, the boys are a little bit wiser and a lot more %$#@!
The demo allows for roughly ten minutes of the single player campaign through the eyes of Lynch and a sample of the new multiplayer mode “Fragile Alliance.” The campaign opens with Kane and Lynch rolling over a Chinese restaurant counter dodging a barrage of machine gun fire. Bullets spray overhead as Lynch finds his bearings and stands up. It is difficult to tell the difference between in-game cinematic cut-scenes and actual gameplay. The entire game is rendered with a highly stylized lens that looks as if someone is following these guys with an old cell phone camera complete with hazy distortion and periodic discoloration. There is a huge difference between playing a game that looks like a movie versus watching a movie with game elements. Dog Days strikes a remarkable balance between the two with the camera effect which is surprisingly engaging. The shaky camera can be disabled, but this feature gives Dog Days its own unique feel and cutting it out reduces the game’s identity significantly. It feels like you are playing a cut-scene, but in a good way; that cinematic flair continues to maintain itself during the rest of the gameplay.
The firefighting is thrilling and follows the modern shooter handbook closely with invisible health meters and cover mechanics. Dog Days moves incredibly fast as if someone is holding down a fast-forward button; add in the greatly improved voice talent and accurate gunfire audio and the intensity level rises dramatically especially during the outdoor areas on the streets when it is hard to differentiate between the Shanghai police and ordinary civilians. Head shots are intentionally blurred out as a clever stylistic choice instead of trying to render a person’s exploded skull. This is just another example of how Dog Days reaches for a high cinematic focus.
The multiplayer contains a fascinating dynamic. In “Fragile Alliance” you and a group of players are robbers who have to steal bags of money off of dead cops and run to the getaway van at the end of the level in under four minutes, but any one of the other robbers can turn on the group in order to collect a bigger share of the money which leads to some interesting stand offs. As an added twist, killed robbers can respawn as cops who have to stop the other robbers from escaping the crime scene and maybe get some revenge against the player that killed them initially. Whoever collects the most money at the end of three rounds wins the game. Any money collected goes towards purchasing better weapons to be used in multiplayer. The robber models are randomly generated at the beginning of each game. Hopefully there will be some kind of personalization options available in the full version which will be released on August 17th for PS3.